Ranger surprises no one with NJMP pole; Elliott, Wong, Hessert also up front for Sunday

(MILLVILLE, N.J. – July 27, 2013) – Four ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards drivers topped the Menards Pole Qualifying Presented by Ansell record time at New Jersey Motorsports Park Saturday, but two-time defending champion Andrew Ranger will start up front.

Ranger, who also won the Menards Pole Award at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2011 and at Road America earlier this year, set the qualifying record at 101.382 mph, or 79.896 seconds around the 2.25-mile paved road course.

Driving the No. 53 Waste Management Bagster Dodge, Ranger will start on the pole for Sunday’s Barbera’s Autoland 150 presented by Driven Racing Oil.

“I know that car really well,” he said. “I feel very comfortable with that car.”

Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Aaron’s-Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet (100.164 mph), Brian Wong in the No. 55 Venturini Motorsports Toyota (99.771 mph) and Tom Hessert in the Barbera’s Autoland Dodge No. 77 (99.77 mph) also topped the previous qualifying record, set by Patrick Long, of 99.602 mph in 2009.

Elliott will start second, Wong third and Hessert fourth. Venturini Motorsports driver Nelson Canache will start fifth and Will Kimmel in the Messina Wildlife Ford will start sixth.

Nine-time series champion and current ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards point leader Frank Kimmel will start ninth with point runner-up and SCOTT Rookie Challenge leader Mason Mingus starting in the 11th position.

Chris Buescher, who won the first ARCA Racing Series road course event of the 2013 season earlier this year at Road America, qualified seventh in the Roulo Brothers Racing No. 99 Ford. Justin Boston, in the ZLOOP Computer & Electronics Recycling Toyota, will start 8th in a third Venturini Motorsports car.

Ranger, who is from Roxton Pond, Quebec, topped the speed charts for both of the practice sessions on Saturday, despite turning only four laps of practice.

“We’ve tested that car before,” he said. “We made a few changes, but we have been here two or three times and we know the track. We know the set up.”

Sunday will be Ranger’s second ARCA Racing Series event of the season. He’s also made starts in the NASCAR K&N East and West series, NASCAR Canadian Tire series and NASCAR Nationwide series.

“I really like road racing,” he said. “I ran in IndyCar before, too. But, I like oval racing, too. I even raced in on ARCA dirt track.”

Hessert is one of four New Jersey natives in the race. He was among the fastest cars in the practice sessions as well.

“We’re not far off from the second place car,” he said. “We focused primarily on race runs. It was a smooth day."

Hessert said he was headed to his Cherry Hill, N.J. home after qualifying and sleep in his own bed the night before the race.

“It’s the only race of the year I get to do that,” he said.

This will be the sixth visit by the ARCA Racing Series to NJMP. Justin Allgaier, Patrick Long and Casey Roderick and Ranger, twice, are previous winners.

“I like it,” Ranger said of the track. “It’s very technical in the back of the track. It is challenging and you slide a little. It’s a very cool track.”

Sunday’s race starts at 1 p.m. Live timing and scoring, plus audio by ARCA Racing Network’s Charles Krall and Tim Clagg, will be on arcaracing.com.